Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept & Close

Car Purchasing Process - US - July 2019

Covered in this report

This report includes all light vehicles, which includes but is not limited to sedans, coupes, station wagons, pickup trucks, vans, minivans, crossover utility vehicles and SUVs (sport utility vehicles).

Fleet sales are included in Market Size sales figures, but are excluded from the scope of this report.

Online Auto Retailers – auto retailers that are born from the internet, despite potentially having a brick and mortar location. Examples include Cars.com, CarMax and TrueCar, where consumers can engage in interactive ways to research their vehicles prior to visiting a physical location.

Funtervention – a “fun” intervention, meaning the car purchasing process lacks the excitement typically associated with other retail purchases and this aspect of the industry needs to liven up.

"Vehicle sales are slowing; average vehicle prices are increasing and consumers showing reticence toward the car purchasing process. Consumers need more than aggressive pricing and TV commercials to entice them into purchasing their next vehicle. Consumers currently view the car purchasing process as a necessary evil they must be subjected to in order to get a vehicle. Automakers and auto retailers must undergo a transformation to shake negative consumer sentiment. While the car purchasing process has not changed significantly in recent years, consumers have. They tolerate the current process because they feel they have no other options in terms of where to purchase from; however, as younger generations grow into their purchasing power, they might look to start ups and other disrupters that will give them the experience they seek."

– Hannah Keshishian, Automotive Analyst

This report examines the following issues:

  • Why is car buying the worst?
  • How to make car purchasing less unpleasant
  • Online auto retailers need to build upon their creative marketing solutions
  • What auto retailers and auto brands need to know
  • What’s next for car purchasing?

What you get

What's included

Why buy from us?

Succeed

Our reports will provide you with market data, consumer research and competitive intelligence to succeed in your market.

Instant Access

Buy now and you'll have instant access to the information you need to make the right decisions.

Opportunities

Find out what's next in the markets that matter to you: where opportunities lie and what challenges you will face.

Trusted

A business Superbrand, Mintel is a source you can trust. We have been defining and refining the Market Intelligence mix since 1972.

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Why is car buying the worst?
          • How to make car purchasing less unpleasant
            • Traditional dealers need to evolve their vehicle purchasing experience
              • Online auto retailers need to build upon their creative marketing solutions
                • What auto retailers and auto brands need to know
                  • Consumers are becoming more accustomed to disruption
                    • Consumers demand transparency to build loyalty and trust
                      • What’s next for car purchasing?
                        • Dealership sales staff should be repositioned as brand advocates
                          • What it means
                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                            • Disposable personal income shows signs of slight growth
                              • Consumer confidence provides opportunity to boost sales
                                • Used sales still make up the majority of the market
                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                  • Historic and projected sales performance of total US auto sales
                                    • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of new and used light vehicles, 2011-21
                                    • Figure 2: Total US unit sales and forecast of new and used light vehicles, 2014-24
                                  • Used vehicle sales account for 70% of total vehicle sales
                                    • Figure 3: Total US unit sales of new and used light vehicles, by segment, 2017 and 2019
                                • Vehicle Sales by Brand

                                  • US vehicle sales by volume are down calendar year to date
                                    • Figure 4: Sales of Market, by company, 2019 calendar year to date
                                • Market Factors

                                  • Gas price increases are likely to affect purchasing
                                    • Figure 5: Monthly US all-grade gas prices, January 2007-April 2019
                                  • Consumer confidence high for now, but expected to drop
                                    • Figure 6: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007-May 2019
                                  • Disposable personal income shows signs of slight growth
                                    • Figure 7: Disposable Personal Income, January 2007-May 2019
                                • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                  • Automakers explore in-house insurance offerings for consumers
                                    • SUV market growing increasingly overcrowded
                                      • UK direct-to-consumer vehicle start-ups draw inspiration from Amazon
                                      • What’s Happening

                                        • Automakers are not so subtly making a move for the insurance industry
                                          • How one travel subscription company could help the future of vehicle subscriptions
                                          • What’s Struggling

                                            • Oversaturated SUV market expected to outpace consumer demand by 2023
                                            • What’s Next

                                              • Crypto currency could become viable payment option for vehicle purchase
                                                • UK start-ups aim to bring Amazon-style business model to used car sales
                                                • Trends Affecting the Car Purchasing Process

                                                  • Car buyers are looking for more personalization in their retail experience
                                                    • Figure 8: Volkswagen T-Cross, “I Am More Than One Thing” commercial, April 2019
                                                  • Consumers seek an elevated in-store and online experience
                                                    • Brands provide shortcuts to aid consumer decision making
                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Consumers find dealership experience unenjoyable
                                                        • Paying off student debt frees up money to buy a vehicle
                                                          • Consumers are open to vehicle purchases from Amazon
                                                            • Most Millennials don’t have a set vehicle purchase price
                                                            • Life Events Prompting Car Purchasing

                                                              • Expectant parents are looking to buy
                                                                • Figure 9: Purchase intent of expectant parents, June 2019
                                                              • Most recent college graduates plan to purchase a car within the next year
                                                                  • Figure 10: Purchase intent of future college graduates, June 2019
                                                                • Paying off student debt frees up money to buy a vehicle
                                                                  • Figure 11: Purchase intent of future student-debt-free consumers, June 2019
                                                                • Future homebuyers will delay a vehicle purchase
                                                                  • Figure 12: Purchase intent of future property owners, June 2019
                                                              • Car Purchasing Process Overview

                                                                • Over half of consumers show long-term purchase intent
                                                                    • Figure 13: Purchase intent of total population, June 2019
                                                                  • Majority of consumers intend to buy a new vehicle for their next purchase
                                                                    • Figure 14: Vehicle type purchase consideration, June 2019
                                                                  • Consumers most concerned with vehicle performance and cost in pre-purchase research
                                                                    • Figure 15: Top vehicle research topics, June 2019
                                                                    • Figure 16: Top vehicle research topics, June 2019
                                                                  • When looking at car performance, fuel efficiency is most researched
                                                                    • Figure 17: Car performance research topics, June 2019
                                                                  • Consumers research competitive pricing in fear of overpaying
                                                                    • Figure 18: Vehicle financing research topics, June 2019
                                                                  • More than two thirds of Millennials don’t have a set purchase price for their next vehicle
                                                                    • Figure 19: Likelihood to have a set auto budget, by generation, June 2019
                                                                    • Figure 20: Cars.com vehicle matchmaker quiz, June 2019
                                                                  • Half of consumers don’t like to negotiate
                                                                    • Figure 21: Attitudes toward price negotiations, June 2019
                                                                • The Future of the Car Purchasing Process

                                                                  • Younger consumers believe dealerships will cease to exist
                                                                    • Figure 22: Likelihood of local dealerships no longer existing, June 2019
                                                                  • As with retail, younger consumers are attracted to direct-to-consumer model
                                                                      • Figure 23: Likelihood of buying directly through an automaker, by generation, June 2019
                                                                    • Consumers believe no-haggle pricing will become normalized
                                                                      • Figure 24: Likelihood of no-haggle pricing, June 2019
                                                                    • Men see a future in buying directly from Amazon
                                                                        • Figure 25: Likelihood of buying through Amazon, by age and gender, June 2019
                                                                      • Consumers see a future with vehicle home delivery
                                                                        • Figure 26: Likelihood of vehicle home delivery, by geographic area, June 2019
                                                                      • A third of consumers see a future of purchasing a vehicle on Instagram
                                                                        • Figure 27: Likelihood of buying a vehicle on Instagram, June 2019
                                                                        • Figure 28: Consumer attitude toward vehicle purchases on social media, June 2019
                                                                    • Attitudes toward Car Dealerships

                                                                      • Consumers find visiting dealerships unenjoyable, for now
                                                                        • Figure 29: Consumer enjoyment of dealership visits, June 2019
                                                                      • Half of consumers view car salespeople as untrustworthy
                                                                        • Figure 30: Consumer attitudes toward car salespeople, June 2019
                                                                      • Half of consumers plan to visit multiple dealerships
                                                                        • Figure 31: Dealership visits as a vehicle research method, June 2019
                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                      • Data sources
                                                                        • Sales data
                                                                          • Fan chart forecast
                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                              • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                  • Abbreviations

                                                                                  Car Purchasing Process - US - July 2019

                                                                                  £3,435.47 (Excl.Tax)